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The Causes Of Stereotypes Essay

1295 words - 6 pages

In the modern era, stereotypes seem to be the ways people justify and simplify the society. Actually, “[s]tereotypes are one way in which we ‘define’ the world in order to see it” (Heilbroner 373). People often prejudge people or objects by grouping them into the categories or styles they know, and then treating the types with their experiences or just following what other people usually do, without truly understanding what and why. Thus, all that causes miscommunication, arguments or lost opportunities to broaden one’s life experience. Stereotypes are usually formed based on an individual’s appearance, race, or gender.
The appearance of a person in general is one of the most important causes of stereotypes. People usually tend to stereotype a person from what they see and think. In Brent Staples’s “Just Walk On By: A Black Man Ponders His Power to Alter Public Space,” he experienced a certain stereotype from a white woman because of his appearance. He explained, “To her, the youngish black man—a broad six feet two inches with a bread and billowing hair, both hands shoved into the pockets of a bulky military jacket—seemed menacing close” (Staples 343). That white woman labeled Staples as a dangerous person who might hurt her, so she ran away as soon as she could. In other words, people usually define “‘suspicious characters’” as “‘swarthy’ or ‘dark and foreign-looking’” (Heilbroner 372). Moreover, “[m]ixed cultural signals have perpetuated certain stereotypes” (Ortiz Cofer 378). Ortiz Cofer experienced the typical stereotype as a Hispanic woman in the United States. For instance, Latin women are usually viewed as the “‘hot tamale’” by using words like “‘sizzling’” or “‘smoldering’” for definitions (Ortiz Cofer 378). During Ortiz Cofer’s high school life, she and her Puerto Rican friends would usually dress up, such as “wearing their [mothers’] ornate jewelry and clothing” (377). She claims that the cultural differences often create misinterpretation in the society, “where prospective employers and men on the street would often misinterpret [her] tight skirts and jingling bracelets as a ‘come-on’” (Ortiz Cofer 378). Ortiz Cofer felt that she was often seen as an object rather than a woman. Throughout the examples, appearance seems to be a primary way how people define an individual; yet, appearance is also a cause of creating stereotypes.
Race is another huge cause of stereotypes. For instance, due to genetic differences, inferior to other races athletically and physically is a common stereotype about Asian Americans rooted in the American society. Thus, Asian American athletes are often the ones who abandon or receive unfair treatment because of racism. The experience of Jeremy Lin is a good example of racial stereotypes. Jeremy Lin is an Asian American professional basketball player in the National Basketball Association (NBA). In Lin’s early days, he was just a nameless bench player, but he never gave up. He worked hard every day and thought he...

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